Coach new secondary pupils to tackle low self-esteem

Schools should work with year 7 pupils to coach them to be more confident, says an expert, as a new survey reveals one third of young people are “not confident”.

A study, released today by Sky Academy, shows that girls are the least confident of the genders, with 61 per cent saying they struggle on the first day of school.

Girls do, however, on average outperform their male counterparts at GCSE level.

The study, which was carried out in collaboration with YouGov for Sky Academy, questioned more than 1,600 young people between the ages of 11 and 24.

Child confidence expert Annette Du Bois said the transition from year 6 to 7 can be the most challenging to a young person’s confidence.

She said schools need to work with year 7 pupils at the start of the school year to embed confidence in later years.

Ms Du Bois said: “Secondary schools can be more aware and proactive of these areas to help year 7 pupils better structure their communication by including specific sessions, targeted coaching and mentoring to help them feel happier about things.

“Calm, confident pupils do better at school and create a more certain future.”

Keziah Featherstone, headteacher of Bridge Learning Campus in Bristol, agreed that confidence among young girls was a problem at secondary school.

She said: “Confidence is really low, so many schools are latching on to Growth Mindset and Carole Dweck’s work.
“I think overall some girls do better at GCSE as working hard is one way of taking back control and trying to prove they are OK really. It’s also why some girls opt out and choose to have a baby early instead.”

Lucy Carver, from Sky Academy, said: “It’s clear from these findings and our own research that confidence plays a crucial role in helping young people succeed and unlock their potential.”

Sky Academy today launches its Confidence Month, supported by ambassadors such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Davina McCall, Alfie Deyes, Sir Chris Hoy, Ella Eyre, Justine Roberts and Melvyn Bragg.